The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Fund, formed last year to pay the Anglican Church of Canada’s portion of proven abuse claims stemming from a national boarding school system for native children, has collected $11.6 million as of June 30, 2004 ? close to half its $25 million target.
According to General Synod’s financial office, $3.1 million has been paid out in settlement claims.
In March, 2003, the church reached an agreement with the federal government that limited the church’s liability to $25 million in lawsuits concerning the schools. The accord averted bankruptcy for the national church and several dioceses, although the diocese of Cariboo in central British Columbia in 2001 closed its diocesan office under financial pressure from lawsuits concerning the schools.
The fund, called the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corp., is paying 30 per cent of settlements (with the federal government paying 70 per cent) awarded plaintiffs proving sexual or physical abuse in Anglican-run schools. Of the 80 native residential schools that existed for more than century into the 1970s, the Anglican church operated 26.
The national office, called General Synod, has paid $3 million into the fund. Dioceses agreed to contribute funds over five years in proportion to their regular annual gift to General Synod.
Six dioceses ? Edmonton , Quebec , Moosonee, Athabasca, Calgary and Yukon ? have paid their five-year commitments in full.